Scattered across tabletops in the Student Center and tossed along Liacouras Walk like confetti, nothing ushers in a new school year better than glossy party fliers. They promise the first 50 ladies free admission, reduced admission for all before 11 p.m., drink specials and a good time.
For some students, knowing the best places to party around campus is just as important as finding where that 8:40 class is located the next morning.
“The parties are just as essential on campus as the classes,” said Temple graduate Justin Gaines, popularly known as DJ Omega.
Though he graduated in May, Gaines has been working the turntables at Temple parties since he was a junior in high school. He said parties gave him a social education that textbooks can’t provide.
“There may be someone you meet at a party that you are closing a million dollar deal with in 10 years, as opposed to someone you took notes from in class,” Gaines said.
Temple has always been known as the party school in Pennsylvania, he said. Center City is only part of the reason why college party and club promoters target Temple students, Gaines said.
Senior marketing major Keith Hawkins agreed, as he recalled handing out fliers in his freshman dorm to get into parties for free.
Fourth-year political science major Chris Hopper, also known as DJ Stylz, agreed that the party scene offers a diverse group of partygoers, but said they are divided into two major groups based on class level.
“You got upper-class and lower-class,” Hopper said. The distinction, he explained, is not based on economic level, but on party style and taste.
Guys in crisp button-ups and girls in dressy tops and stilettos comprise the upper-class crowd, according to Hopper.
“They just want to be seen,” he said. “You go down to Old City and [they] are having conversations on the dance floor. I’m like, ‘Why are you talking when there is music playing?’ I am not trying to get to know you. I just want to dance.”
Regardless of the type of scene, Gaines said everyone is there do the same thing – just have fun.
“There are times when I went to the sweat box and had a ball and there are times when I went to the bourgeois, get-dressed-up, spend-$1000-on-my-outfit party and had the worst night of my life,” he said.
For freshmen or sophomores who can’t get into places that serve alcohol, a campus party is where you can see all your friends, party until your hair is falling out, go home and still make it to class in the morning, Gaines said.
“But as you grow older, you are going to want to move into a more mature environment like a club or lounge and still do the same thing,” he said.
For senior marketing major Keith Hawkins, there isn’t a campus party he has not attended, and he’s even thrown many himself.
The Philadelphia native is crowned the ‘Party King,’ a title he earned during his freshman year when he says was spotted at every party and social event on campus.
As a freshman, Hawkins mingled with promoters and helped lug crates and equipment to get into the parties for free. Hawkins decided to make his own moves on the college party circuit by throwing a series of house parties.
“People were telling me ‘Oh, I had so much fun at your party’ or ‘When you throwing another one?'” he said. “And I was making money so that was keeping me motivated to [throw] more.” But in the party game, you can win big, lose big or break even. “It’s not something for the faint of heart or even easy to do,” Gaines said. “People think it’s so easy to throw a party and make a flier and that’s it. But people throw parties and bomb all the time.”
A good night for Hawkins is when his venue is packed to capacity. And not just because money is in the bank, but because he has created a following, he said. Losing money is never good, but “it keeps you motivated to do another one,” he said.
“[But] when you break even on a party, it’s like the whole thing was a waste of your time,” Hawkins said with a sigh.
Throwing parties is all about time management and hard work, Gaines said. Bad weather, location or even poor campus morale can affect the turnout.
Putting the business of party promoting aside, Hawkins said he has found a stable school-party balance by setting boundaries.
Gaines said he always saw himself as a DJ first and student second when he was in school. “But I understand [the need for] balancing school and partying. You can’t put your life into this party scene because it is too much of a gamble. You have to use it for what it is,” he said.
But by creating a solid business out of the party scene, both Gaines and Hawkins have made names for themselves
“When you come to a DJ Omega party, I want to make sure you either had the time of your life or the best fun you had all weekend,” Gaines said.
Whether you prefer guys in T-shirts or blazers, or girls teetering in stilettos or working it out on the dance floor in flip-flops, Temple’s party scene offers a variety of venues and plenty of people to meet. The only hard part is waking up for class the next morning.
Malaika T. Carpenter can be reached at Malaika.email@example.com.